Saint Crispin on Smith Street, Collingwood opened with rave reviews earlier this year and Mr GQ and I had a great eveing there a few months ago. However, my plans to visit the upstairs bar, Thomas Olive, were scuppered by a private party. “I’ll be back”, I told Alan (the bartender), trying not to imitate Arnie as I did so.
Last week, the planets aligned and I returned.
Thomas Olive is reached by scaling a pretty ambitious flight of stairs. Steep is an understatement (if you’ve had a few cocktails, you’ll need to take extra care on your descent).
Dark and moody, with heavy drapes concealing a private dining room, it looks like the type of place created for secret assignations. Although it was a Wednesday there was nice bustle to the place, with some people waiting for their table at St Crispin to be ready and others enjoying a post-dinner drink.
The back bar is small, but a quick flick through the menu showed an eclectic list of drinks. ‘Running with Alice’ caught my eye. A selection of three drinks; a beer, a shot and a martini, that you can only to order once per night.
9 gins are listed and half of those would make my top 10, so I was happy. Alan made a dry martini with Berry Bros and Noilly Prat with a twist, that was deliciously dry and chilled to perfection. If martinis aren’t your thing there are other gin cocktails you could try. Alan then made a gin version of a Penicillin (as I don’t like whisky) and it was wonderful.
Cocktail prices range from $16-$55 . Wine, beer, champagne and small tasting plates are also available.
As the Saint Crispin website says, “Thomas Olive is a great destination in its own right” and I tend to agree.
Thomas Olive, 300 Smith Street, Collingwood. Open Wednesday-Saturday from 5pm (going to 7 days a week from 17th November 2014.